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Feasibility of screen-printed PZT microceramics for piezocomposites applications
Keywords: Structural Health Monitoring, Piezocomposite, Thick-films
Among sensor, actuator or transducer applications of piezoelectric materials, the first works in the field of vibrations’ control and the thermal/mechanical energy harvesting showed very encouraging results. However, piezoelectric ceramics being very fragile and poorly adapted to curved surfaces, more and more research are related to piezocomposites that are more resistant to mechanical solicitations and that can be bent with a certain radius of curvature. These components are made of piezoelectric microceramics or fibres, embedded in a resin. In this paper, using the association of the low-cost screen-printing technology with the sacrificial layer, we study the feasibility of totally removed gold electroded PZT thick-films which will be later enclosed in a resin to realize piezocomposites. Before the multilayer Au/PZT/Au deposition, a sacrificial layer containing epoxy resin and SrCO3 is printed on an alumina substrate. The dried samples, isostatically pressed, are fired at 900°C in air and then totally separated from the substrate thanks to the dissolution of SrCO3 in acidic solution. To evaluate the process’s efficiency on the electromechanical performance of our microceramics, pellets made of dried and pressed powder originating from the same PZT ink are also sintered at 900°C in air before deposition of gold electrodes. SEM analyses performed on PZT thick-films show a lower densification than ceramics. After poling at 280°C, electrical characterizations are achieved with an impedancemeter to determine different piezoelectric parameters such as ε, tanδ, d31, kp, k31 and Q. The piezoelectric parameters of PZT thick-films are still lower than those of ceramics. However, these microceramics behave as sensors when solicited by vibrations and as actuators to generate vibrations in a structure on which they are bonded. Though the feasibility of such “PZT microceramics” is demonstrated, improvements of the fabrication process are currently studied to increase the PZT compacity and thus enhance electromechanical properties.
Hélène DEBEDA, Associate Professor
Université de Bordeaux 1
Talence, Aquitaine

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